Earlier this year, NPS Canada contacted me to shoot a short film utilizing a new camera they had coming out. What I wanted to do with the project was find a way to showcase the capabilities of the camera while also telling a story. For this project, I chose to produce a full campaign that included a short documentary, behind the scenes film as well as a photo series.
Every Moment Counts is a short that follows the journey of a cod fisherman who, after being enthralled in the industry for years, is considering putting away his gear for the last time. The film will follow this characters journey of passion and drive through his many years living and breathing on the open sea.
Our focus is on the small rural fisherman who has been able to do what he loves while still being able to support his family at the same time. Our focus isn’t just about the success of catching fish – its about the journey. Work-life balance has always been a challenge but this is normal. A culture breeding a work ethic built on hard-work and long hours has allowed our lead character to continue to build on the family legacy.
When selecting our candidate, it is key we find someone who is nearing retirement but has lived a long and full life. We will target an active fishing community that is struggling to make ends meet with the new regulations being introduced that limit the opportunities for small operations to succeed. We are not making a statement about the industry, rather showing that no matter the obstacles, passion is what keeps these operations running.
For this project, our goal is to showcase what the D810 is capable of producing in both still and video formats. A photo series, a teaser video, seven minute documentary and BTS video will be produced that showcase the capabilities of this camera while focusing on the technical specifications that make this camera unique. These videos will be watched by not only the current customer base but also the general public because of the format of storytelling.
Why Working with Local Communities Is Important
You Need Them
Without the support of local communities, productions are virtually impossible. From places to stay to on the ground support, without the support and acceptance of your production in these environments, there is no way to be successful. For us, these local communities were what allowed us to produce this project at all. Before landing in Nova Scotia, we had a person we were hoping to work with. However, after getting to Nova Scotia, we realized quickly that he wasn’t the right fit. We were forced to hit the pavement looking for a new subject. After asking locals, we were able to connect with our lead character that we featured in the film.
By immersing yourself in the culture and community, you are able to ensure a higher level of authenticity of story. For us, by getting more knowledge of the people and landscape, we feel we were able to paint a cleaner picture of the community.
Face it, sometimes you need local support for such roles as PA’s or other more significant roles. At the simple level, if locals don’t want to work with you, there is no way to be able to actually film your project. From extra pairs of hands to access to locations, without the support of locals, on all levels of production, there is no way to get the job done.
How to Successfully Work with These Communities
Like with anything, research is imperative. From places to start to things to eat, make sure you do your research before hitting the ground. Maybe there are local traditions that you need to be aware of as to not offend people or maybe you need fixers to keep you safe, it is imperative that you are prepared when heading to any new location.
Don’t Burn Locations
Treat each place like your own home and leave it better than you found it. I don’t know how many times I have tried to shoot at a location to be turned away because of a bad past experience. Ensure you treat all locations with care and make these experiences amazing for all involved.
Put Yourself out There
Don’t be scared to put yourself out there when visiting new places. Hang out with locals and have real conversations. When I do this, I will make sure to do this first without a camera in sight.
What We Learned
The biggest takeaway with this project is the importance of creating an environment that people want to be apart of. From teammates to locals, finding a way to connect people and make them feel apart of the process and active contributors is critical for any project. Collaboration is key and is really what determines the success of a project.